Arsenal transfer activity, preview by RPK
Can Arsenal finally win the Premier league after more than a decade? For the first time since we left Highbury, I feel like we have the billing of a genuine Premier League title contenders. After winning two FA cups and a Community shield in the last two seasons, the Arsenal squad remain intact and stable to fight a Chelsea squad which has equally remained intact and settled. Other teams like Man United and Man City have strengthened their sides. But for the first time, there is a real, honest confidence among Arsenal players that they can do it.
Since RVP left Arsenal in 2012, we have added Cazorla & Giroud (in the same window), Ozil, Sanchez and Cech to go along with the existing English core (Ramsey, Wilshere, Gibbs, Ox, Theo). This summer, apart from adding Cech, there were quite a few changes in the backroom staff. One thing Arsenal have been going through is having too many injuries during a season. The fans might have thought what might have happened if Ramsey was not injured during the 2013-14 season. Hopefully the new backroom staff might help us have a fit squad this season. Apart from that, as everyone on this site have claimed and pointed during the last month or two, we definitely have to add a player or two (a striker and a backup to Coquelin). While I am a big fan of Giroud, Theo and Welbeck, I still feel none of the trio gives the defenders a real scare as compared with Aguero or Diego Costa. Having said that, I also agree that finding World-class center-forwards is easier said than done. Moreover, I really feel a backup to Coq will be a high priority if Flamini leaves. Arteta is still not at 100% and an injury or suspension to anyone of these two might leave us playing Hayden/Chambers in the middle in an important game.
This season with the addition of Cech, Arsene Wenger has added one more world class player to the starting lineup. There is a good depth in the squad as shown during the Emirates cup when we changed the entire back four without really compromising on the quality. The midfield with Ramsey, Santi, Wilshere, Coquelin, Arteta, Ox, Ozil looks to have the depth and variety. Theo, Sanchez, Welbeck, Giroud and Ox can play in that front 3. And then there are 4-5 exciting youngsters in the ranks – Gnabry, Akpom, Iwobi etc. Moreover, I also feel Wenger might have a plan A and plan B this season. At the end of last season he started playing Theo as a center forward and there was lot of good moment with Sanchez and Theo exchanging places as we have seen from FA cup final. This might help Ozil and Santi to exploit gaps in defenses. I also feel like he might play with Santi and Ramsey in some matches at home when he is sure the opposition is going to sit back and defend.
This is the first preseason in which Ozil has taken part since joining Arsenal and I think he will play a key part this season along with Sanchez. I also think there are a few players who are hungry to prove themselves that may make the difference – Wilshere, Theo, Ox permitting they stay fit through out the season. All in all after a good pre-season, I hope Arsenal make a quick start to the season and play consistently through out the season. I think we will definitely finish in top 3, but the consistency throughout the season and the fitness of the team might actually decide if we can finish better than where we finished last season.
Goal Keepers – Cech, Ospina, Martinez (H)
Defenders – Bellerin (H), Debuchy, Koscielny, Per, Gabriel, Chambers (H), Monreal, Gibbs (H)
Midfielders – Coquelin (H), Ramsey (H), Wilshere (H), Ox (H), Cazorola, Arteta, Flamini, Ozil, Rosicky
Forwards – Alexis, Theo (H), Welbeck (H), Giroud
That makes 24 and also Chambers and Ox might be qualified as U21 and (H) – homegrown. So there is definite space in the squad if Wenger wants to add a player or two 🙂
Rajesh Prasad Kosaraj